Models are known for making people turn and stare but today during Fashion Week, one model drew everyone’s eyes for one important reason. Because while Jamie Brewer is absolutely gorgeous, she is also the first person with Down syndrome to walk the runway at a major fashion show.
Jamie lit up the catwalk wearing a custom Carrie Hammer dress, as part of the designer’s genius initiative to showcase “role models over runway models.” As an actress on the hit show American Horror Story, a seasoned vet of both camera and stage, and a vocal activist in the Down syndrome community, Brewer has the role model thing on lock. As she strutted her stuff, her excitement and energy were obvious (and a welcome change from the endless processions of straight-faced blank-slate young women on the catwalks).
“I love to show my personality through how I dress,” she says. “I find a lot of inspiration in fashion. I’m very sassy and spunky and glitzy.” But don’t try to lock her into one style. “I’m all about wearing a wide variety of things!” she adds, gushing over the elegant blue dress she wore to last year’s Emmys.
Her love of fashion definitely shows. She looked like a seasoned pro and that’s because she says she wasn’t nervous to be in front of all those people (“not even a little bit scared!”). “I know how to channel fear,” she explains of how she’s been able to accomplish so much. But if she ever does feel a twinge, she repeats a line from one of her favorite movies, Haunted Mansion: “You try. You fail. You try. You fail. But the only true failure is when you stop trying.”
And that’s a message she wants to share with other women and girls as well. “You don’t need to be scared,” she says. “Just keep trying. Listen to your heart and advice from family and friends and be an inspiration. You’ll find a way to do what you dream.”
Following her dreams is what got her where she is. “I’ve always been myself,” she says proudly. As a young child she fell in love with the arts and says that acting, dancing and singing have always been the best way for her to express herself.
Even though she’s already a star on an award-winning TV show, she’s still got big dreams. Right now she’s focusing on changing the screen industry from the inside out. “We need more character roles available to women to show who we are and let that shine from our hearts,” she says, adding that she’d love to branch out and play roles like an engaged woman, a young mother or a lawyer.
Listening to her talk about her love of acting and people — she cites J.K. Rowling, Maria Shriver, Ellen Degeneres and athlete-turned-actress Dot Marie Jones as her role models for both successful media careers and life in general — her enthusiasm is infectious. It’s clear that this is a girl who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to work hard to get it.
What’s next for the vivacious, talented starlet? Right now she’s working on voicing a cartoon fairy for the upcoming movie Snow Moon: Cinderella Chronicles Saga. But we see big things for her for years to come, including (hopefully!) another stint as a model.
Images: Tiffany Hagler-Geard/SheKnows